Grandparents that have been bringing up their grandchildren in the place of parents are in line for payouts of millions of pounds in extra support. This breakthough is the result of a pensioner who recently won the right to be treated as her grandson’s foster mother.
The 68-year-old woman from Derbyshire, who has been looking after the 13-year-old since he was a baby and earlier cared for another grandchild, launched a High Court after learning that she would be receiving almost twice as much financial support if she was a stranger.
The council has agreed to drop its opposition and settle the case, paying her the money she should have been receiving backdated for the last 13 years.
It follows a High Court ruling in March in favour of a woman from Tower Hamlets in London, who was described by judges as “one of the unsung heroines of our society” for bringing her disabled brother’s three children up.
The cases could have implications for many of the estimated 200,000 people across the country acting as “kinship carers”, meaning that they have taken on parental responsibility for children from within their own family as an alternative to them being adopted.
In the most recent case the woman, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire, had been receiving a basic “residence” allowance of just over £70 a week to help cover the cost of bringing the boy up.
But had she been classed as a foster parent she would be receiving £160 a week, more than twice as much.
After a judge agreed that there was a case to answer, Derbyshire County Council backed down and dropped its case at the eleventh hour before it was due to come before a full hearing.
She is now in line for around £14,000 in back payments in addition to the money she will now receive, as well as her legal costs.
But according to her solicitor Nigel Priestley, senior partner of Ridley and Hall, there could be another 200 families in the county alone in the same position as well as many more across the country.
“My client is not alone,” he said.
“Across the country local authorities are paying limited residence allowances.”
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